Clemson Football Notebook

CLEMSON – A lot of news concerning injuries came after Monday night's late football practice. Some of it was good, some of it was bad, while yet another is still to be determined.

First, the good: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said senior tight end Cole Downer is expected to play Saturday afternoon against Georgia Tech. It will be his first action since undergoing emergency surgery to remove his spleen that was ruptured in the Miami game on September 17.

Downer will not take any hits in practice this week, meaning his first live action since the injury will come against the Yellow Jackets.

"I'm just a little scared about contact," Bowden said. "He's a fifth-year senior and he's played tackle, so he's used to contact and I feel better in that regard. … It's a little bit scary. Blocking doesn't bother me, but catching and taking a shot."

Now, the bad: It was learned Monday that defensive lineman Donnell Clark will miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL in his left knee.

"He was playing his best game versus Temple," Bowden said. "We lose some speed and quickness … but what we lose in speed and quickness, we'll get back in something else."

Bowden is referring to Dorell Scott, who is size and bulk. But Bowden admitted Clark's speed would be better served against a quarterback like Tech's Reggie Ball, who is so mobile.

And finally, the unknown: Freshman running back James Davis is still listed as doubtful for his homecoming this weekend, but he still has his eyes set on playing.

Bowden said Davis had his stitches removed Monday and he will be reevaluated on Friday.

"I believe what (the doctors) say in three to four weeks," Bowden said. "He really wants to play against Georgia Tech."

The other unknown is offensive guard Marion Dukes, who wore a yellow jersey Monday, which indicates he's injured and not to be hit. His injury was unknown, but Bowden said he is expected to practice Tuesday.

Taking it Easy
Defensive back Michael Hamlin said he has an idea why the Temple offense was able to connect on so many big plays and a lot of passing yardage. He said the defensive players were "relaxed."

"Basically in the coverages and things like that," he said. "We softened up a little bit, gave up a couple of big plays and gave up more yardage than we expected to. … More of them came when we started getting relaxed and started getting lazy in our footwork and all that stuff in the secondary. …

"On the sideline, a lot of players were just over there having fun and I guess that carried onto the field because there were basically a lot of jokes on the sideline, and on the field it was little simple mistakes that gave up big plays."

Hamlin, a red-shirt freshman, said the fooling around wasn't going on from the beginning, but started to occur as the game progressed.

"Like when we were up by a lot, I guess since we wasn't used to a big a lead like that, everybody started getting real relaxed talking about different stuff," he said. "Basically (it was just) the defense, the offense wasn't talking too much. The defense was real relaxed, basically because we had a goose egg until the fourth quarter, so we were real relaxed."

Hamlin said there's no way he can repeat some of the stuff being said, and he added that the coaching staff was pretty much unaware of what was going on because they were too much tuned into the game.

Early last week, defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said he thought the young players were too jovial at times during meetings. Hamlin agrees.

"Our meetings, everybody's joking around a lot," he said. "Whenever we see Coach serious, that's when we get serious. If Coach isn't serious, then nine times out of 10, we wasn't serious. … "We needed a game like that (where we could enjoy ourselves), but I don't feel like we needed to give up that many yards, especially in the secondary with the little history we got with big plays and all that." Top Stories